Aidan Burley (Cannock Chase, Conservative)
I welcome my right hon. Friend’s announcement last Thursday that he will change the law in order to require councillors to declare union support and donations as pecuniary and therefore prejudicial interests. Did he receive representations from the Labour Front-Bench team against these proposals when the statutory instrument came in this month? If not, would their union paymasters be justified in thinking them asleep on the job?
Eric Pickles (Secretary of State, Communities and Local Government; Brentwood and Ongar, Conservative)
This matter—not whether Labour has been asleep on the job but the amount of union involvement with councillors—is of enormous concern. We are taking the moderate and reasonable approach of saying, “We support unions and it is wonderful that they support the Labour party, but we would like to know and it should be a matter for public disclosure.” Given that it is so uncontroversial, I am sure it will receive support throughout the House.
Full list of the Topical Questions raised on July 2nd can be found here